Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ARC Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C Stevens

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C Stevens
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 5th February, 2014
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss. Thank you!

Goodreads rating: 4.10 out of 5.00 (100+ ratings, pre-release)
Goodreads | The Reading Room

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.
Review by Nara

There are no words to the music, and that makes me sad. Every song deserves lyrics. Deserves a story to tell.
I want to start this review by addressing our male lead. Bodee is a rather interesting name. And it suits a rather interesting character. One of the main reasons I had wanted to read this book was that the blurb says that the book contains a "quiet and awkward boy next door". I feel like, in YA, there are too many bad boys and just confident love interests in general. It's actually fairly rare to find a quiet and/or awkward male lead. And wow, Bodee was an excellent one. I suppose recently, there have been a gradual increase in the number of more interesting love interests- and I have to say, this is I change I wholeheartedly support.
   This morning the secret has claws. And it's climbing the walls of my stomach, twisting my gut, quivering and rolling and burning. Red-hot acid in the back of my throat. Ready to explode.
   And I have to stop it before it spews all over my life.
I suppose, in a way, Alexi's secret was fairly obvious, and at times it seemed a bit silly to have her talk about her "biggest secret" because it was so obvious to the reader. At the same time, it was completely acceptable, because to all the other characters in the book (except Bodee) it was indeed a secret. I guess that's the privilege of being able to see inside her mind as a reader.

There was only one major issue I had with this book- and this was how the main conflict was resolved. I feel like the "villain" of the novel got off a little bit too easily. On one hand, I did understand why it was that he got off somewhat easily, but just on a very fundamental level, I disliked how the issue was kind of swept under the rug in a way (sorry, it's difficult to talk about without spoilers). I did recently read an interview with the author where she said that she didn't want to deal with this issue because the book was more so about Alexi's journey, and I suppose that's understandable. Also, oh my god, Alexi's sister was seriously the most annoying character. Sweet Jesus, get over yourself. She was so self centred and arrogant and BLEURGH.

Faking Normal is definitely a very unique read. I do agree with the bolded statement in the blurb- Courtney C. Stevens blew me away with this thoughtful, realistic, compelling debut. She's certainly been etched onto my list of authors to watch out for.

Really liked it
Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 3/5